Isn’t proofreading just checking spellings and grammar? Doesn’t spellcheck do that?
Proofreaders also check for consistency in names, heading style, bullet points, capitalisation, spacing, and internal references, such as captions and links. Why? To avoid any confusion about what you really mean.
Spellcheck will not do all that. It also won’t pick up real words that are used in the wrong place (eg, brought when you mean bought).
As for computer grammar checking… Quite simply, it’s often wrong. Human language is far too subtle for a computer to understand all its meanings. It’s not often I can claim to be better than a computer, but this is one of those times!
What's the difference between proofreading and editing?
A proofreader looks at the fine detail to make sure everything is correct and consistent. Your wording won’t be changed unless it’s actually wrong. Proofreading should be the final check before you go public with your writing.
Just to be clear: proofreading gives no guarantee about the suitability of the facts, content, structure, vocabulary or tone of the writing. If you would like all that checked, you need editing.
Editing is about the writing as a whole – it’s proofreading plus a whole lot more. The English may be right, but perhaps the order could be more logical, or the choice of words needs tweaking. Often, the writing is simply too wordy – an editor weeds out the bits that aren’t needed.
Editing aims to make your message clear and suitable for your audience, but it is not a complete re-write.
Does it really matter if there are a few little mistakes?
We all make mistakes, even professional writers – but they are a distraction from your message. They could even put buyers or readers off completely. (Yes, that definitely happens.)
Why take that risk? Getting it checked proves that you care about the details. That makes a good impression right from the start.
Will you write my blog/CV/website for me?
Professional writing to someone else’s brief is usually called copywriting. It’s a different level of service, and will still need time and thought on your part to explain your precise requirements – your aims and audience, as well as the facts to be included.
Copywriting is, quite rightly, more expensive than editing.
If you think that’s what you need, please get in touch for more information.
Do you work in publishing or journalism?
The short answer is no! I have a background in English language teaching and I write about language. So I know how to help you say what you mean and get the right results from your writing.
I specialise in non-fiction, and will happily edit factual books (eg, information, ‘How to’ books, memoirs). However, much of my work involves helping writers with websites, leaflets, reports or training materials, as well as academic proofreading.
I can do the final proofreading of creative writing, but if you want your novel edited, you probably need a fiction editor. (Look above for the difference between proofreading and editing.)
How much will it cost to check a 6-page website/double-sided leaflet/blog post…?
Editors try to avoid clichés, so I’m resisting any mention of string and how long it is! It depends what kind of check you want.
Just proofreading? That’s a standard rate based purely on word count – £7.50 per thousand words. (Check out the Prices page for full details.)
However, there is no such thing as an average length of time for editing. It depends on the style and quality of writing, whether it’s plain text, or a website, or has lots of bullet points, and much more.
I charge £25 per hour for editing. I can give you an idea of the cost of your project if you send me your writing.
As a guide, this website contains around 3,500 words (including headers, links, boxes etc.) It would cost £30 for proofreading only. As for editing – a published website always takes longer to edit than plain text. That could take 2 – 4 hours, depending on the original writing quality, ie, up to £100.
I hope you’d consider that very worthwhile to avoid losing a sale.
It’s a bit scary, having someone check my writing.
That’s an understandable feeling. But (time for a bit of tough love…) your writing is going to be seen anyway. Think of it like this – it’s better to have one person sort out any problems than all of your readers spotting them!
Don’t worry; you’re in safe hands. Here are my promises to you:
I’m here to support and help you, not to be negative.
I will look at your writing in detail.
Then you will get friendly but honest advice to help you communicate better to your audience.
Not scary at all!